From Onboarding to Belonging

In this episode of the Inclusive Growth Show I talk to Chris Jones from Enboarder. Chris explains how the Enboarder digital platform creates a great onboarding experience and is crucial to creating that sense of belonging on an employee journey.
Photo of Chris Jones

Speaker 1: Welcome to “The Inclusive Growth Show” with Toby Mildon. Future-proofing your business by creating a diverse workplace.

Toby Mildon: Hey there. Thank you for tuning into this episode of The Inclusive Growth Show. I’m Toby Mildon. And today, I’m joined by Chris Jones. He’s the Head of Customer Success for Enboarder, which is a software provider for helping onboarding new employees into your business. So Chris, welcome to the show. It’s great to have you.

Chris Jones: Yeah, thanks, Toby. I appreciate you having me on the show.

Toby Mildon: Cool. Chris, could you first of all, just let us know a bit more about yourself and what you do at Enboarder.

Chris Jones: Yeah, So I’m an Aussie now based in London. I work for, as you mentioned, a company called Enboarder, and for the last eight years, I’ve worked in the HR Tech Space and really looking a lot at the recruitment side of that, so thinking about talent attraction strategies, but also looking about getting people into an organisation and making sure they’re prepared and they’re set up and ready to go. So for the last four and a half years, in particular, I’ve worked at Enboarder. I’ve worked with hundreds of companies initially in APAC. So looking at Australia, Asia, New Zealand, but in the last three and a half years, it’s been primarily through the EMEA region. So working with them to think about strategies to get people in the door from an onboarding point of view, but also looking at once they’re in, how do we help create learning frameworks and make people feel like they belong in the organisation, basically. So yeah, I get to spend a lot of time with pretty cool companies.

Toby Mildon: That’s really cool. Could you just explain to us a bit more about what exactly Enboarder is and how it works?

Chris Jones: Of course, yeah. So Enboarder, we’re the first People Activation Platform we call ourselves. So what that means is it’s a high level of a workflow tool, and it’s based on a timeline, and what the features are is really customizable. So when an organisation uses Enboarder, they can create these timelines of content and touch points. And it’s really around sending communications out to employees, but also to other stakeholders in the organisation. And the key thing with Enboarder is it’s very much moment-in-time kind of bite-sized way of sending nudges to people. So rather than expecting a manager or an employee to log into a portal or download an app, it’s very much around having these nudges that will be sent out to employees at the right moment, and it will be all around getting them to complete certain actions or to engage with a certain content. So it’s a platform. Companies buy the software and they can customize and create whatever journeys they would like.

Chris Jones: So it could range from onboarding was where we first started. But also when people leave the organisation from an off-boarding perspective through to things like internal mobility, parental leave. But even also thinking around the topic of today around maybe it’s multigenerational and multiracial dynamics and coaching people on how they can work best with the teams, or it could even be around leadership development training and having programs built. So lots that can be done. But at the heart of it, it’s very much a customizable workflow tool.

Toby Mildon: It sounds really cool, and I really like your use of the word journeys, ’cause that’s something I talk about in my book “Inclusive Growth”. The middle chapter is called “Colleague Experience And Design”, and basically I say that organisations need to think about the journeys that people go on and remove any obstacles that prevent them from completing that journey. And a lot of organisations talk about recruitment. In my book, I talk about onboarding, ’cause I think that’s often overlooked sometimes. That kind of experience of getting the job offer. You’re in limbo between your old job and your new job. But you’re starting to connect with the new business that you’re gonna join, and those first 100 days are really crucial…

Chris Jones: Yeah.

Toby Mildon: When you’re first join an organisation and being able to form those personal and professional networks, as well.

Chris Jones: That’s right, and I think it’s really interesting when you ask an organisation, “Do your employee onboarding well?” So often an organisation would say, “Yeah, we have a day one induction program, so we do it well.” And for me, it’s all around, well, what are they hearing to your point, between when they sign their offer and when they join, but then also their first 100 days in the organisation. When they’re meeting people, trying to make up their mind if they’re gonna stay or not.

Toby Mildon: Yeah.

Chris Jones: It’s something that there are not many organisations have really nailed. So that’s a, yeah, a really interesting space.

Toby Mildon: And what kind of organisations are using your platforms?

Chris Jones: It really varies. We’ve got from a customer perspective, some of the world’s biggest brands, so there’s some huge multinational organisations who use us, but then we’ve got some kind of start-ups and some fast-growing tech companies. It really spans across most industries. There’s no real vertical that we can say, “Yeah, this is the one that we go after.”

Toby Mildon: Yeah.

Chris Jones: I guess, when you look at who they are at the core, no matter if they’re a huge or a small company, they all have a focus on experience, and they all really wanna make sure that it’s not just process and checklist. It’s also around how we’re making people feel and how we’re making people’s lives easier and feel like they belong more with whatever journey they’re going through.

Toby Mildon: Yeah, ’cause I bumped into you at the In-House Recruitment Exhibition in Manchester, and we got chatting about your software and obviously, I’m really interested in diversity and inclusion and that’s what led us to this point. How are some of your clients using the platform for their diversity and inclusion work?

Chris Jones: It’s interesting. When we look at the kind of philosophy around diversity and inclusion programs, I think one of the key things that we see time to time again is the organisations that are doing it well, they look at it as it’s not the icing on the cake, diversity and inclusion. It’s not something you just wanna tack on. It’s actually something that’s baked into the process and it forms part of the whole employee life cycle. So I think that’s something where from the moment someone joins the organisation through to maybe when they’re promoted, maybe they move and revolve internally to when they leave, it’s all around thinking about those moments and getting those key touch points. So some key examples within that, I guess you could say, one of the biggest ones is around looking at the actual accessibility of the platform. So when we first kick off with a customer, one of the areas we really look at is how are you gonna design your content?

Chris Jones: So, thinking around having tags on images, having the color schemes that allow for people with visual impairment to be able to view it correctly, looking at where you’re having buttons, what your images are like. So I think that at the beginning, forms a really, really important piece of what all of the content flowing down the line looks like. Because they really look at focusing on that content design at the beginning, which I think is something that if you don’t think about at the beginning, can be a lot of work to then go and tweak and change in the long run. So even that as a design principle, I think is where they all start, just an example.

Toby Mildon: No, I think it’s really important that the platform is accessible. And I’ve done a couple of previous podcast episodes with digital accessibility experts and other software providers. And we talk about, I think particularly when we’re producing software that can benefit diversity and inclusion, it really has to be inclusive. Otherwise, you’re shooting yourself in the foot, otherwise aren’t you?

Chris Jones: Yeah. That’s right. You can say all the right things, but if it actually doesn’t get read or engaged by the people who need it the most, what’s the point?

Toby Mildon: Yeah.

Chris Jones: It’s ticking a box otherwise, isn’t it?

Toby Mildon: Yeah. Speaking into the theme of accessibility, I know from our previous chats that some people can use your software to help facilitate workplace adjustments when new people join a company. Could you tell us a bit more about that?

Chris Jones: Yeah, and a really good point. So one of the good things with the way that our customers use the platform is they look at getting in touch with people, as we said before, once they’ve accepted their offer. So it could be a month. It could be three months. It’s some time where we have the time to get them ready. And as part of the actual workflow build, what we’ve seen some more forward-thinking organisations do is put a survey or a form that goes out to that new joiner. And it might ask things like, yeah, are there any requirements that you need? Looking at any adjustments that they really require. They can submit those answers. And the organisation can choose to either notify the manager or they could just send it to the Occupational Health and Safety team or whichever team needs to actually know and actually action those things. So it’s a really nice way to capture those physical adjustments that might be needed.

Toby Mildon: Hmm.

Chris Jones: And at the same time, I’ve seen a lot of really good customers of ours also putting things that might ask about, how do you best work? What’s the way that you wanna be managed? Are there any key things that we need to know to make sure that you have the best experience? And then they can share that with, as I mentioned, anyone that they would like in the journey. So it’s a great way. Before they’ve joined, we have plenty of time to ask the questions, get them set up for success. So when they arrive, everything’s ready. And that’s a really great experience for them.

Toby Mildon: Yeah. And I might say it needs to be a really great experience. ‘Cause I remember when I was joining a particular company in the past, I filled out the forms around my reasonable adjustments. And I basically said that I needed the speech to text software on my laptop. And they kinda made me laugh in a way ’cause they basically put me in touch with a doctor. They were outsourcing this kind of assessment. And they put me in touch with this doctor who had no idea what I was talking about. And I was like, “Yeah, that kinda needed to go to the IT department, not to a doctor.” It was a waste of both of our time, really. That onboarding experience could have definitely been a lot smoother.

Chris Jones: It’s interesting, isn’t it? You say that because I’ve seen that a few times with companies who, they kind of get it half right. They’ve thought about it. They’re thinking, “Okay, yep. We need to do something.” But then the actual way that it’s managed and executed just doesn’t hit the mark. And it probably makes an even worse experience than if they hadn’t even asked for it. Because…

Toby Mildon: Yeah.

Chris Jones: You’re, “Oh, this is great. I’m gonna get something that’s finally speaking my language.” And then the next thing you know, nothing happens with it. So yeah, that’s a really, really dangerous situation for a company to put themselves in.

Toby Mildon: So one thing that we’ve talked about previously is about how the software helps facilitate that relationship with the new line manager. And from an inclusion perspective, helps create a sense of belonging. And we know that belonging is one of the four pillars of inclusion. How does the software do that?

Chris Jones: A part of it, and it kind of went to our philosophy when we were looking at designing the system and when we consult with companies. One of the key things I like to think about is the concept of psychological safety, as well, within teams. And to create that sense of belonging, whether it’s between the new hire and the manager or the new hire and the teams. One of the best ways to do it is to kinda coach people and also connect people. They’re two really important things. And so the way that we see it work best with the platform and with companies who design it, is really looking at kind of bite-sized continuous learning and continuous nudges. So for example, maybe a couple of weeks before the new joiner’s due to start at company, a prompt might be sent to the manager that says, “Your new joiner starts in two weeks. Here is some information about them that we’ve collected previously. So they’d like to be managed this way. They need this set up in this way, et cetera, et cetera.” But also giving the chance then to connect to the new employee. So maybe saying, “Here is their contact details. It’d be great if you can give them a call and talk about some of the things here.”

Chris Jones: But also then giving the option to even introduce them to the team. So we see a lot of organisations who will use a buddy scheme, and it’s a great opportunity if we think about that kind of psychological safety and belonging, if we can get the manager connected to the new joiner, but also have a buddy assigned to the new joiner, so that new joiner feels like they’ve connected before they’ve even joined, so on the first day, it really kind of helps them get up and running much quicker and just feel like they belong in the organisation. So we see that the line manager, the buddy, and it could even be other stakeholders in the business, but just trying to build that connectedness before day one, so that they wrap a lot quicker when they join.

Toby Mildon: That sounds brilliant, and out of some of your clients, can you think of an example of where you think that a client is using your software in a really great way when it comes to inclusivity that maybe other businesses or the person listening to our conversation today could take back to their own organisation.

Chris Jones: Yeah, I mean there’s some incredible things we’ve seen. Like I said, I’m quite lucky to work with some pretty cool companies. One of the biggest things from, I guess, a theme is personalization. And it’s thinking around, how can we give people a journey that is unique to them, and it’s almost putting a like a marketing hat on and a consumer-facing hat, because when someone joins, they don’t just want the generic, they want to have something unique to them. So we’ve seen some organisations do some great things around employee networks and around anything in the organisation that might be, you know, have an amazing program or some pretty cool things that they’re doing, so within the journey, they might build in perhaps in that original form where they ask about accessibility, but also down the line, just saying, what are you interested in? Are you interested in our parents at work group? Are you interested in this group, that group? And depending on what they answer, they can then serve up content, they can drive them to certain pages, they can join certain groups. Enables them to, I guess, get excited, as well, about what is lying ahead of them but also gives them the ability to get involved and, and participate in that journey.

Chris Jones: What I’ve liked about it is it’s not putting groups into buckets. It’s basically opening it up to the whole organisation and saying, these are the groups we have. Which ones of these do you wanna be part of? And I think it really helps from when we think about allies to all these different groups, they can become part of it, and then that really helps drive that inclusiveness across the whole business. So I’ve really liked seeing that, and it, you know, often stems from having existing programs in groups in place, that they’re using the Enboarder platform to bring that to life and to drive more people to those groups. So to me that’s, yeah, that’s been really, really exciting to see.

Toby Mildon: Yeah, that sounds really cool. So this is “The Inclusive Growth Show.” What does inclusive growth mean to you and Enboarder?

Chris Jones: To me, I think teams who are more diverse and inclusive, are going to show higher performance, which leads to personal, professional and business growth. So it’s all around activating everyone to be their best, to drive that personal and business growth, I’d say.

Toby Mildon: Brilliant, and if the person listening to us today wants to learn more about Enboarder, where should they go?

Chris Jones: Yeah, so easiest way, go to our website, so it’s enboarder.com and if you go there, you’ll see some case studies of what companies have done. You can also have a bit of a play around and feel what it is like to go through an Enboarder experience. And as always, you can go on and sign up for a demo, as well, if you’re interested.

Toby Mildon: Brilliant, and I’ll make sure that the link to your website is in the show notes of this episode, as well, so people can just click through to it.

Chris Jones: Fantastic, that’d be great.

Toby Mildon: Well, Chris, thank you ever so much for joining me today on this episode. It’s been great to catch up with you. Good luck with the rest of the development of your platform and I hope you have some more great clients joining because I think having a really great onboarding experience is really crucial to creating that sense of belonging for when anybody joins a new business. So thank you very much.

Chris Jones: Thanks, Toby, and hopefully for those listening, it was useful and you can walk away with some new ideas that you can implement in your business.

Toby Mildon: Great. Thanks, Chris. And thank you for tuning into this episode of “The Inclusive Growth Show”. I hope you enjoyed my conversation with Chris today. As previously mentioned, if you want to learn more about the platform, please do go to their website. Until the next episode, I look forward to seeing you soon. Thank you very much.

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